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For & Against

For & Against: Winter

19 July 2016

FOR
by Scarlette Do

Persephone annually sacrifices herself to Hades so that we can enjoy the harsh hail and bitter blizzards of winter. I know you are disheartened already thinking about your soaked shoes and being holed up in the house for weeks on end. But give winter a chance and hear me out. Its unforgiving conditions are what make this season the best for bonding with one another through a multitude of activities.

Imagine a Wednesday night in July when your exams are done and dusted. You’ve returned from work and it’s pouring outside. To warm up your numbed body – and let’s face it, your frozen heart as well – you snuggle up cosy with the bae. You both smell like a grandmother, maybe because bae is wearing that adorable sweater Gram’s knitted for them, maybe because all your winter clothes inventory is Savers sponsored. Winter also facilitates the perfect cuddle sesh – there’s just enough heat between the two bodies so you wouldn’t have to worry about the sweat fest that occurs so often in summer.

With the evening free of responsibilities, you head down to Queen Vic’s Winter Night Market to enjoy all its toasty offerings. While your hands are snugged between those of your lover’s, the rest of your body is basked in the warmth from the sizzling Brazilian grill and the scorching curry vats. Pho, ramen, laksa – your favourite Asian cuisines, now westernised for easy consumption – all work miracles on that stubbornly blocked nose. That mulled wine you purchased two stalls earlier has begun to seep into your system, filling you with notes of cinnamon and sweet oak. Heck, even ice cream tastes better in winter. You can now fully appreciate its delicious frostiness without the paranoia of dropping the slob on your shirt.

Winter is the best season for introverts, too. The miserable weather discourages your friends from going out every weekend and the damned insects from preying on you. You can curl up peacefully in your doona to catch up with Game of Thrones. Those poor bastards in the northern hemisphere can’t truly experience the series like you can. Winter is coming? Winter is here. Stock up your tea, spirits and rainy-day mixtapes so your winter blues don’t go unaccompanied.

Passenger says, “You only miss the sun when it starts to snow”. I say winter gives you the perfect opportunity to appreciate the warmth generated by not only food but also by people. Mostly by food though.

 

AGAINST
by Sean Mantesso

Winter. The bane of every fun-loving person’s existence.

We ring in these blustery icy months with a begrudging sense of inevitability. The intolerable cold exacerbated by our longing for better times and warmer nights.

The unbearable icy winds, the rain that hits you like tiny little icicles, stinging as you dash between buildings. The flu, the runny noses, the cold isn’t conducive to good times and good health. The sun disappears over the horizon before you even make it home in the afternoon.

We cling to our blankets on these unbearable mornings, terrified of moving lest we let even the smallest amount of cold air into our place of refuge.

Whatever hopeless attempt someone might make to tell us how much they love winter is really just a vain attempt to cope with the insufferability of it.

Only a disturbed and sadistic heretic would say they enjoy this.

The simplest pleasures, like say, going outside are taken away from us. We huddle incessantly around sources of warmth, seeking refuge wherever we can find it.

The Winter Enthusiasts will often point out that there is an alluring ‘mystique’ associated with the cold, dark months in the middle of the year.

Melbourne teeters precariously close at times to the magic zero degrees that makes snow possible. But no, we simply endure the frosty temperatures and never even get the prize of snowfall, perhaps the one and only magic of the cold.

Don’t kid yourself people. Winter sucks.

We cling desperately to those final warm months and look solemnly at what’s ahead of us come May.

Many of us flee, we go north, we go abroad, some of us even make tentative plans to move to Queensland. We go anywhere to escape and satiate our yearning for the sun.

When we do finally emerge from the dark with pasty skin and a few extra kilos, we do so with a renewed vitality.

Maybe the one and only good that comes from winter is the appreciation we feel for the warmer months. The suffering, the endurance, the bitter cold and darkness make us revel in the warmth when those irresistible summer days do finally come along.

Fear not my friends. These miserable weeks will come to an end. We are but a few short months from greener pastures, sunny days, balmy nights and happier times.

 


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